Gazette letters: Urban birdwatching, NIMBYs and a loyal reader

Woodberry Wetlands. Picture: Harry Wood/Flickr/Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Woodberry Wetlands. Picture: Harry Wood/Flickr/Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0) - Credit: Harry Wood/Flickr/Creative Commo

The sheet of snow across my window on Sunday morning was surprising, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Huge, inch-wide flakes cascading down sharply towards the ground – it was too wet for them to settle. It was also too wet for me to go outside and enjoy them. Instead I put my hand out the window and caught a few, one almost as wide as my palm.

In the aftermath, I went to explore the sparkling streets; Hackney’s Saturday night mess wiped clean by snow and rain through the night. Running up through Clissold Park, the gulls that nest above the ponds had seemingly opted for a Sunday morning lie-in, heads tucked away, swaying on their individual branches.

Woodberry Wetlands remained unfazed, the waterfowl continuing about its business and birdwatchers, apparently oblivious to the weather, continuing to watch them doing so.

It is a meditative place, the wetlands – and in a busy city it is a rare treat to spend a reflective afternoon wandering between Woodberry and Walthamstow wetlands, eyes peeled for any of the rarer sights at either.

Without binoculars I was at a disadvantage, but still the tufted ducks amused, rolling their heads in and out of the icy water; mallards, normally not a bird I choose to stop and watch, appeared calmed by the colder weather, their loud aggression quieted after the morning downpour.

I can’t tell whether the birds are returning to my garden feeders in Newington Green, or whether it’s simply the fact it is lighter for more of the day and so I can actually see them. Blue tits, great tits, the occasional sparrow and chaffinch – all worth wiling away an afternoon watching.

I am writing in response to your article of January 9 regarding the proposed housing development on Mandeville Street, writes Matthew Shapland, associate headteacher, Mandeville Primary School.

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I think it extremely unfair to refer to those in the local community who are concerned about this development as NIMBYs.

As the associate headteacher of Mandeville School, which borders directly on the proposed development, I understand the legitimate concerns of the local community about how this will affect their local area and the education of their children.

Any proposed construction impacts on a neighbourhood and I was disappointed to see that your article clearly took a one-sided view.

If the proposal had been straightforward and with zero impact then our local community would have, I am sure, unanimously supported it.

In fact, there are significant issues relating to the design and it was right and proper that these were raised for the planning committee’s consideration.

No one in our community wants to stop much needed accommodation being built, but they do want it to be planned with due consideration for the local area and services.

I think that your newspaper should have taken a less biased view about a complex issue without unfairly labelling those giving their considered views and legitimate concerns, as is their democratic right.

Terry Wood, Deepdene House, Manor Road, writes:

Many thanks for publishing my letter (“Option to put up council tax is a government trick”, Gazette letters, January 18), which mentioned the loss of Hackney Today as a community newspaper.

Please be assured I purchase two copies of the Gazette each week and send one to my brother, an ex-Hackney resident, in Essex. (All is forgiven – ed)